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Privacy, Security and Data Protection in Smart Cities: a Critical EU Law Perspective

December 07, 2016 by Lilian Edwards

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This paper, drawing on author engagement with smart city development in Glasgow as well as the results of an international conference in the area curated by the author, argues that smart cities combine the three greatest current threats to personal privacy, with which regulation has so far failed to deal effectively; the Internet of Things(IoT) or "ubiquitous computing"; "Big Data" ; and the Cloud. While these three phenomena have been examined extensively in much privacy literature (particularly the last two), both in the US and EU, the combination is under-explored. Furthermore, US legal literature and solutions (if any) are not simply transferable to the EU because of the US's lack of an omnibus data protection (DP) law. I will discuss how and if EU DP law controls possible threats to personal privacy from smart cities and suggest further research on two possible solutions: one, a mandatory holistic privacy impact assessment (PIA) exercise for smart cities: two, code solutions for flagging the need for, and consequences of, giving consent to collection of data in ambient environments.